Background/Aim: The high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1), a nuclear DNA-binding protein, has recently been recognized as a new proinflammatory cytokine. The purpose of this study was to examine the significance of HMGB1 in patients with renal diseases. Methods: HMGB1 concentrations in sera were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and antibodies against HMGB1 were examined by Western blotting in patients who underwent renal biopsies and in healthy controls. Immunohistochemistry for HMGB1 was also performed. Results: Serum HMGB1 was more likely to be positive in patients who underwent renal biopsies as compared with the controls. Patients with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-related glomerulonephritis (ANCA-GN) and those with Henoch-Schönlein purpura nephritis showed a significantly higher tendency to be HMGB1 positive. The presence of anti-HMGB1 antibody was not associated with the presence of serum HMGB1. Immunohistochemistry revealed that HMGB1 was expressed in mononuclear cells in the interstitium or in the glomeruli of some patients with ANCA-GN or IgA nephropathy (IgAN). Subanalysis demonstrated that among patients with IgAN, those who had crescent formation showed a higher tendency to be HMGB1 positive than those who did not. Conclusions: HMGB1 was expressed in the sera of patients with renal diseases who underwent renal biopsies, especially among those who had vasculitis including ANCA-GN, Henoch-Schönlein purpura nephritis, and IgAN with glomerular crescents.
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